Musings

Adversity will serve us unexpectedly, unless we insist we are destined to suffer. 

That insistence primes our subconscious to seek out misery.  We invent a devil—made by us and for us—to accommodate our perception.

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21 thoughts on “Musings

  1. Yes, but the implication is that we somehow choose to insist that we are destined to suffer. I don’t believe we have any choice in the matter. The notion of free choice and responsibility is just plain religiosity dressed up in the disguise of morality and law. We are in fact driven to do whatever we do from the word go, we have no option, just as the universe is doing whatever it has to do from its big bang birth.

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    • If you say so, but as far as I know, no one has proven or disproven the existence of free will. Until it has been completely disproven, I would rather think and act as if it exists. It would be a terrible waste if even the smallest spark lived within me, and I chose to ignore it out of disbelief and resignation.

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      • I don’t think it is possible to prove the connection between cause and effect either… but science and technology, based as they are on the observation and experiment seem to manage very well without any ghosts in the machine. You speak of a ‘spark’… I assume you are alluding to the spark of Zeus? But that is ancient-world stuff. We now know that God is a word which means ‘I haven’t got a clue’; that God is merely the personification of light, a sleight of hand from the powerful and privileged tyrannical masters (so to speak) that run this earth performed in order to dupe subjugate and oppress the great slave populace.

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      • I think where you and I would disagree is how definitive present scientific conclusions actually are. Until they start accounting for much more than a fraction of the universe (4% of the observable portion, according to the most reliable model of science thus far, which seems to be quantum mechanics from what I understand), the origin and nature of time/space, the existence or not of other universes, the significance of psychedelics, and the new conundrums arising from the observation of UFOS (once a crackpot idea, but now acknowledged in recent articles in the NY times), then I would avoid making such clockwork assumptions about our existence. In my opinion, the true strength of science lies in its humility, where it comfortably abides in the position where it cannot account for a given phenomena, and seeks to understand the causal mechanism through which it functions.

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      • Apologies… some errors in my initial response… here the revised version: I don’t think it is possible to prove the connection between cause and effect either… but science and technology, based as they are on observation and experiment of same, seem to manage very well without any random ghosts in the machine. You speak of a ‘spark’… I assume you are alluding to the so-called ‘spark of Zeus’? But that is ancient-world stuff. We now know that God is a word which means ‘I haven’t got a clue’… that God is merely the personification of light, a sleight of hand, from the powerful and privileged tyrannical masters (so to speak) that run this earth, performed in order to dupe, subjugate and oppress the great slave populace.

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      • A somewhat cynical and un-nuanced view in my opinion. I don’t doubt the truth of it, but the way you have phrased it, I think, leaves out the fact that faith in something greater can have its upsides and has carried people into freedom and revolution. I cannot argue with it, however, if it brings you a sense of peace and comfort, for that is the underlying purpose behind personal belief regarding existence, in my opinion anyway.

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  2. What? ‘clockwork assumptions’? ‘somewhat cynical and un-nuanced view’? ‘if it brings you a sense of peace and comfort’?

    None of these tags applies to me or my views. You are surely talking about yourself.

    My fellow human being, I beseech you, leave talk of UFO’s, quantum mechanics, psychedelics, and the meaning of life, to others, while you still have time.

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    • Instead of a point-by-point rebuttal, I’m perceiving a blanket dismissal. You seem like someone who seems interested in science, so I strongly encourage you to investigate phenomena as it stands instead of assuming that it fits into a predetermined view. I’d recommend starting with a heroic dose of psychedelics.

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      • Again, you are telling me about yourself! As a matter of fact I was a regular taker of mescalin, lysergic acid diethylamide, magic mushrooms and some pretty strong hashish more than 40 years ago. I also read all the available literature (or most of it) on the subject. I also worked with heroin and cocaine addicts for a while…. There really is nothing to say about these substances other than that they take one into fantasy worlds. I found that it was possible to be ‘high’ all the time without the need for substances. Lol !

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      • Not at all–I’m specifically addressing your comment where you imply that I shouldn’t talk about UFOs, psychedelics, and quantum mechanics. Why leave talk of those things to others when the lack of knowledge about those subjects imply that we cannot yet reach the deterministic conclusion you seem to have embraced?
        As far as your personal experimentation, I think that’s awesome. But I find it puzzling that you say there’s nothing about these substances other than they take one into a fantasy world. The evidence seems to imply they have great use as therapeutics. Anecdotally, I have a veteran friend who would have killed himself out of despair if not for DMT, and studies seem to support that psychedelics can foster mental health and optimization, when used in the appropriate manner. The opposite seems to be true for opioids and stimulants. I hesitate to go down the rabbit hole of proving who’s telling who about whomself, as that seems to be a better-worded version of the playground accusation, “No–YOU are!” when in fact we do not know each other aside from a few informationally stunted exchanges in text. I’m responding by how I interpret your phrasing.

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    • You should try it again–Paul Stamets has compelling evidence for neurogenesis when microdosing psilocybin in conjunction with vitamin D and lion’s mane, followed by a high dose of niacin to maximize the distribution of each compound.

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      • Why? What for? There is nothing to be gained. It’s been nice talking to you but no more I’m afraid! Your mind appears to be closed fast. It’s as though you have some sort of fear of reason and logic… as though you have stopped your ears and don’t want to hear manifest truths. I really do have better things to do than to try to persuade you to think critically about your irrational beliefs. So, my friend, I bid you bye bye, and I wish you well.

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      • It seems the opposite to me. I’ve referenced a well-respected mycologist who has been instrumental in causing the government to reconsider their position on psychedelics, to the point where they have approved studies on psychedelics by vetted institutions such as MAPS and gotten promising results with PTSD and end-of-life patients. When I decided to reference a professional, you responded with a condemnation of my critical thinking and rationality. I feel my response was in the spirit of open-minded debate that was willing to look at the current science. Yours seems to rely on attacking my character and willingness to listen. I’ll leave it to whoever reads our exchange to decide who is truly closed-minded.

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  3. I think the problem here is that we’re speaking different languages, you, an American dialect / variant of English, me, English London grammar school English.

    I don’t know how we got onto the subject of drugs, lol, since my original post merely questioned your Voluntarist assumptions and beliefs in spirits and hobgoblins.

    Now you’re giving me BS about some amateur mycologist / businessman!

    Do me a favour, I wasn’t born yesterday!

    And I’ve no doubt your readers, mostly Americans, will decide in your favour, but WTF!

    Finally, no hard feelings!

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    • Perhaps that’s the case with the dialogue, as I have interpreted our original positions as this: you believe there is enough evidence to conclude we live a fully deterministic existence (implying there is no hope whatsoever), whereas I believe that we have nowhere near enough evidence to conclude anything of the sort.
      As far as drugs, it seems you have no fact-based rebuttal to the idea that scientifically/statistically backed positive outcomes with psychedelic therapy are valid and bear investigation. Instead, you question my critical thinking and character at even bringing up the prospect. From what I can tell, you seem to think the proper response is outright dismissal and character-based attacks instead of open-minded consideration. Good luck with that worldview. I’ve tried it before and it hasn’t served me well.

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      • With reference to your second paragraph first, a few remarks are in order. Number [1] You misrepresent me, yet again! I am probably one of the most open-minded individuals you are ever likely to come across. [2] Why your desire to play the victim? I came here to place a comment and in good faith and yet all you seem to want to do is go on the defensive and accuse me of ad hominems. [3] I am speaking plain English, no fancy modern jargon, just simple plain English, man to man, so why can’t you show some good humour, lighten up and indulge me or is that too much to ask? There’s enough contrariness on the Internet as it is, why add to it?
        Now, your first paragraph. I have nowhere implied that a deterministic universe equals no hope! That is your inference. In actual fact a universe in which free will abides is a place, a dystopia, a nightmare scenario, where innocent people get punished and tortured by ruthless tyrants: it’s here and now world. That is the fact, indisputably, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, the guilty get away with crimes against humanity. This the world of free choice: you are held responsible for your actions. And punished or rewarded accordingly. One’s genes, upbringing, formative experience, education, ingrained habits, etc, dictate the course of one’s life. But once a person understands all this, (and there are many great minds, from Einstein to Tolstoy to Spinoza etc, etc, who have understood this and seen the light, as it were,) he or she becomes a better or more open-minded person as a result, more forgiving, more understanding, less judgemental, and so on. So that is the reality my friend. And it is not just a matter of opinion: Courts of law do hold individuals responsible for their actions. That is a fact. Best wishes to you.

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      • Not sure where you get the idea that I want to play the victim, but you’re entitled to your opinion. Wouldn’t we all be victims if free will was a moot point? Wouldn’t your stance by default make everyone into a victim? It’s either we’re all victims of all-powerful circumstance, or we have free will and I am guilty for playing one. As far as an ad hominem accusation, you throw out the implication that I’m irrational for listening to Paul Stamets despite his widely established credentials and many decades of experience, cooperating with both governments, activists, and businesses. Also the idea that UFOs should be dismissed when the NY times has vetted the 2004 Nimitz incidence where multiple credible fighter pilots have testified their encounter is real (if that isn’t enough, you can view a video of their comms and radar footage during the encounter on YouTube). seems to be more close-minded to me than my stance: stating these issues bear more investigation and that until we fully understand them, we can’t conclude “We are in fact driven to do whatever we do from the word go, we have no option, just as the universe is doing whatever it has to do from its big bang birth.” It’s interesting that you’re accusing me of not being light; I thought you were going to stop commenting several comments ago; why the investment? We’re simply exchanging information (on my page no less), so why insist that I exchange it in the way you like according to your subjective barometer of whether it’s lighthearted or not? As far as the determinism, I full well recognize the power of external circumstances; I had a genetic test done by 23&me a couple years back, just to see what factors push and pull me without my conscious knowledge. You seem ready to conclude that these factors are all powerful and lead to a better or more open-minded person, but if we do in fact “have no option” wouldn’t that be moot? We couldn’t help it whether we were better or more open-minded, just as I couldn’t help it if I wasn’t being lighthearted or you couldn’t help it if you dismissed investigation-worthy data out of hand. We’d be destined to have our back-and-forth until its inevitable conclusion, and we wouldn’t be able to help the tone or manner in which we debated. Those scenarios arising from a lack of free will seem to make your requests into performative contradictions, or actions that ironically contradict the beliefs of the actor. Because if you have free will, you are responsible for making those requests, but you are using your lack-of-free will stance to contradict the existence of free will. If you don’t have free will, you are simply a victim of circumstance, which you have ironically accused me of playing.
        Now the complete lack of free will may or may not be, but I think a more ethical stance is we don’t truly know if we have “no option,” as you have conclusively stated. Until this is proven, however, I choose to believe I have some free will, and part of maximizing it is understanding that a substantial amount of my decision-making has been compromised by external circumstances, which allows me to leverage any free will I have to its highest capacity. But according to you, this is a useless stance, as you have concluded through an extremely limited understanding of the fundamental nature of the universe (not belittling you, simply stating how much more science has yet to discover by its own admission) that we have “no option.” Remember now: don’t beat yourself up for not taking your leave of this conversation as you stated you would earlier, because neither of us have any free will (well in that case, I guess you couldn’t help it if you beat yourself up or not); we are caught in the gears of a machine that you have concluded–through your extremely limited knowledge–has complete say in every one of our actions and thoughts.

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  4. Well, as if proof were even necessary! I mean, it is self-evident from everything you say that your belief in the irrational myth of free will is fixed and unshakeable. No amount of rational argument, no amount of substantive proof, that I, or anyone else, might provide, will ever change your view. And yet still you deny the obvious conclusion to be drawn!

    Try to disbelieve in free will… go on… but you can’t, can you! Lol!

    Yes, and I am in the same boat, I firmly believe, no, I know, that everything that happens in the universe, including individual thought processes and ideas to the effect that we have freedom of choice, free will, are responsible for our actions, and so on, has been determined and follows laws and can even be predicted to a certain extent.

    The difference between you and me though is that you rebel against (or imagine you can choose to deny) the obvious, whereas I accept it. Who then is the more open-minded?

    As for these stories about UFO’s… I can only laugh! It’s just as if someone said to me, ‘Believe me, Peter, I just saw fairies at the bottom of the garden dancing around an Amanita Muscaria mushroom and one of them looked just like Paul Stamets.’

    Get out of here!

    I think that’s about it now. Nice talking to you. You can have the last word! Best wishes!

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    • It is not unshakeable. In my past comments, I have stated that until it is definitely proven wrong, I choose to assume that we have at least a little bit of free will. You seem to operate under the assumption that we have more than enough evidence that we can make the conclusion we have no free will, which only leads me to believe you cannot consider new evidence for whatever reason, as we would need to fully understand the brain (which we don’t) and probably the fundamental nature of reality which leads to the creation of the brain and everything that networks with it (which, once again, we don’t). Your inability to consider new evidence seems to be evident in the fact that you cannot effectively counter credible, investigation-worthy testimony and research by lifelong experts such as Commander David Fravor or Paul Stamets. You use the same argument that those with closed minds and deep insecurity have used in the past: that I am ridiculous (maybe even insane) and so are the experts whom I have referenced just for bringing up the prospect, despite inductive evidence that has not been conclusively proven irrelevant. And now, it seems you retreat in that same manner, in a huff of supposed common sense and indignant righteousness where you are the better for letting me have the last word. Who has sided with the more ethical assumption? You, who seem to have firmly decided that (despite the fact that science has admitted it is nowhere close to understanding the brain or the fundamental nature of reality) we have no free will? Or I, who acknowledges we have so much yet to discover, and allow for the possibility of free will until it is conclusively disproven? Keep firm in your promise of leaving the conversation this time, if you can. Unless you want to cast yourself again as a victim of your lack of free will.

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